ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) took Edgar Ortega into custody on February 11, 2013 and is currently deciding whether he will be deported to Guatemala or granted a stay of removal. Edgar has been in the U.S. for 14 years and lives with his family here, including his wife and his two young children who were born in California. He has a pending immigration case at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but the appeals court does not provide any automatic protection to stop ICE from deporting people in Edgar's situation who are awaiting a decision.
From Edgar's wife: “Edgar and I love each other and our children deeply . . . our two children are both very young and do not understand what is going on. At their age, their father’s consistent presence is vital to their emotional and mental growth. If their father remains absent from their lives after a sudden disappearance, this can have major long-term consequences on their emotional well-being.”
Delfino Gomez Gonzalez, a member of the church Edgar and his family attend, says that, “Edgar is an excellent, exemplary father. When he is not working, he spends all his time with his family. I can see that Edgar’s children are his priority in life. He does everything possible so that his children are happy. Edgar is a very reserved person, but he has a quiet strength and he supports our community. He is honest and hard-working, and I know that his family needs him and depends on him.”
If Congress passes immigration reform legislation, Edgar is likely to be included in the new path to citizenship, but if he is deported now, he may not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. to be with his family. Please ask ICE to suspend Edgar's deportation while the appeals court decides his case and while Congress works toward immigration reform.